Drinking and driving is being cited as the fundamental cause of a fatal accident on I-26 near Ridgeville, South Carolina (SC). The collision also left three passengers in the innocent driver's car hospitalized with serious injuries.
The deadly crash happened at mile marker 190 of the interstate at around 11 pm on August 7, 2016. According to State Highway Patrol investigators, a man driving under the influence attempted to change lanes and struck another car. The impact sent the car off the side of the road, where it rolled over. The innocent driver became trapped in the wreckage and died at the scene. Three other people in the flipped car survived with major injuries. Multiple news outlets identified the deceased victim as 46-year-old Walter McDowell of Clinton, SC.
The at-fault driver currently faces a charge for felony DUI. Several other charges are forthcoming. One of which is likely to be reckless driving for changing lanes without taking the precautions necessary to ensure he had time and space to move over safely.
Evidence that shows the driver who caused this deadly lane change accident outside of Ridgeville was under the influence of alcohol and operating recklessly would give the injured passengers and the family of the man who lost his life strong grounds for filing personal injury and wrongful death insurance claims. Such evidence could also permit the people who the drunk, reckless driver harmed to request punitive damages.
Punitive damages are a noncriminal monetary fine assessed by a civil court judge or jury. The punitive damages represent both a punishment for the reckless person and a warning to others who might think they can injure or kill without consequence. Consulting with an experienced Carolina personal injury and wrongful death attorney will help the people negatively affected by the Ridgeville-area crash receive all the evidence the Highway Patrol collects and also help them understand their options for seeking compensation and damages.